High Court Strikes Down DOMA

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In a historic victory for gay rights, the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, the 1996 law that prevented the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriage. In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Anthony Kennedy, the court ruled that DOMA is an unconstitutional deprivation of equal liberty, a violation of the Fifth Amendment. The ruling will allow federal benefits—tax breaks, insurance for government employees—to couples in D.C. and the 12 states (13, now that California’s Proposition 8 has been dismissed) that already recognize same-sex marriage.